10 Whistleblowers That Changed The World

10 Whistleblowers That Changed The World Thumbnail: Linda Tripp and Bill Clinton, Chelsea Manning with a still from Collateral Murder, Magnitsky and Trump 10 Christopher Wylie Nowadays it’s impossible to avoid political turmoil

But whether it’s Brexit, Trump or an array of elections around the world, there’s a good chance Christopher Wylie is involved in some way Now 29, the Canadian data scientist is somewhat of un unlikely wunderkind After dropping out of school, Wylie went on to teach himself coding, study a PHD and work on political data projects around the world Most notably, he was behind the systems which powered the campaigns of Cambridge Analytica: that’s the company that harvested data from 50 million Facebook profiles for political targeting Acting in a grey area between information warfare and academic research, Cambridge Analytica used permissions in a quiz app to collect information on each users and an average of 160 friends

Regretting his early part in the current day political turmoil, Wylie revealed his “data frankenmonster” to the UK’s Observer newspaper He hopes to put the genie back in the bottle, but given the questions raised about everything from Trump to Russia to Brexit to Facebook, Wylie’s work and the subsequent revelations are likely to shape politics for decades 9 Peter Buxtun The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment is one of the most heinous examples of unethical behaviour by the American government in modern history In the 4 decades between 1932 and 1972, the US Public Health Service conducted a long-running study investigating the effects of untreated syphilis in black americans

It was carried out by offering around 400 infected men free medical treatment without telling them they had the disease, only explaining that they had “bad blood” The men were told it was a 6 month study, but in reality it persisted for 40 years When USPHS worker Peter Buxton became aware of the study, he made repeated attempts to protest but was rebuffed every time under the excuse that the men had “consented” It was only when Buxtun took what he knew to the New York Times that things changed Public outrage led to congressional hearings, changes in the law, a 10 million dollar class action lawsuit and a public apology from Bill Clinton 2 decades later

8 Julian Assange In the world of whistleblowing, there is probably no one more controversial than Julian Assange The Australian hacker-turned-political activist established Wikileaks in 2006 as a platform for sharing classified information anonymously By 2010, it became a household name following the Chelsea Manning leaks From then on, the site and its founder sparked fierce debate and stark divisions over whether he was a champion of democracy, a terrorist, or both

That divide reached fever pitch in 2012 when Assange was accused of sexual assault in Sweden, which he saw as a means of politically extraditing him to the United States That saw him seeking asylum in London’s Ecuadorian embassy Assange and Wikileaks have undoubtedly reshaped attitudes to privacy and democracy, but where he was once seen as their saviour, he has come under much greater scrutiny in recent years That’s because there’s growing evidence of involvement between Wikileaks, Russia and the Trump presidential campaign – particularly in regards to Hillary Clinton’s leaked emails and whether they were politically motivated in their release That’s a question for the history books, but what’s certain is that Assange’s impact is hard to overstate 7

Linda Tripp When it comes to Bill Clinton’s impeachment, three people mostly come to mind: Bill, Hillary and Monica Lewinsky, the woman with whom he supposedly “did not have relations” But one player in the story gets a far less credit than she deserves in the unravelling of the affair Linda Tripp was a civil servant during Clinton’s presidency who secretly recorded a conversation Lewinsky in order to obtain proof that the president had obstructed justice Those recordings then became instrumental in Ken Starr’s investigation At the time, the Clinton impeachment was largely seen as somewhat of an oddity, rather than a Nixonian national crisis

That’s part of why he remained in office But unlike other whistleblowing scandals, Linda’s appears to have had a delayed impact on the world University of Kansas professor Bill Lacy believes that Clinton’s impeachment opened the gates for future calls to impeach that have little to no legitimacy And on top of that, re-examination in the #metoo era has led to the unusual case of Clinton’s approval rates falling after office That almost never happens to past presidents

6 Sergei Magnitsky It always takes a good deal of bravery to become a whistleblower Speaking out against institutional wrongdoing carries a risk of unemployment, intense media scrutiny and even prison But in Russia, where many businesses are closely linked with government dealings, it can even pose a risk to life, as in the case of Sergei Magnitsky The financial lawyer came to prominence when he exposed financial crimes and corruption within the Russian government, testifying that officials had defrauded 230 million dollars from taxpayers

That led to Magnitsky’s imprisonment without a trial and eventual death as a result of poor medical treatment When word spread of the whistleblower’s fate there was international condemnation, including the infamous Magnitsky act, which barred the implicated Russians from entering the US The Magnitsky act has reportedly become an obsession for Vladimir Putin, and investigations have unearthed links between it and the meeting at Trump Tower in 2016 that became a scandal in its own right 5 Edward Snowden Modern internet culture is highly concerned with privacy, and that’s largely due to Edward Snowden

The then-30 year old NSA analyst infamously blew the whistle on a set of operations that many people would have previously dismissed as conspiracy theories Those operations included PRISM, which allows the US Government to harvest personal data from online services including Facebook and Gmail Then there’s the collection of phone records from American citizens en masse and even revelations of spying on world leaders, even German Chancellor Angela Merkel Those leaks shocked not just activists, but made the American public acutely aware of its government’s actions and caused bitter debates over Snowden’s intentions Some said American hero, others said traitor, and that wasn’t helped by seeking asylum in Russia

In any case, it completely reframed discussions over public trust, the responsibilities of silicon valley and just how much privacy we’re willing to give away 4 Daniel Ellsberg It’s safe to say that the Vietnam war wasn’t exactly popular with the american people Between the endless protest songs and the actual protests, it proved to be a source of national outrage and shame A big part of that anti-war sentiment came from the actions of Daniel Ellsberg, a RAND corporation military analyst who leaked part of the Report of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Vietnam Task Force

They became better known as the Pentagon Papers The papers revealed a wide array of ways the public was misled about US conduct in the south asian war Most notably, they showed that the US had expanded war efforts into Laos and Cambodia despite president Johnson claiming “we seek no wider war” The leaks were considered serious enough that Ellsberg was charged with conspiracy, espionage and theft of public property, but those charges were dropped when it became clear that the Nixon administration had engaged in unlawful methods of discrediting him All of that played a massive part in the US pulling out of Vietnam, and fundamentally shook public confidence in what the government says 3

Chelsea Manning Wartime conduct in the Middle East has been a subject of intense criticism pretty much since the start of the war in Iraq, but one of the most intense controversies only arose thanks to the actions of one Chelsea Manning In 2010, Manning, who then presented as ‘Bradley’, was working as a data analyst for the US army when she came to realise the human cost of the work she was doing Because of the deaths she witnessed, Manning leaked 750,000 documents to Wikileaks Most notably, Manning shared footage from 2007 that would form the basis of the film ‘Collateral Murder’, which showed a US airstrike killing as many as 12 innocent civilians in Baghdad That leak reinvigorated anti-war sentiment and caused a major scandal, not to mention landing her in jail for 7 years and helping Wikileaks to become a global force

Since then, Manning has taken up the mantle of advocating for privacy and democracy, even running to become a Democrat senate candidate in Maryland, using her high profile to keep privacy concerns in the public eye 2 Frank Serpico Back in the 1970s, New York wasn’t exactly the safest place in the world, largely due to an increase in gang crime and a decrease in funding for the police On top of that, it transpired that there was rampant corruption within the NYPD itself, and that fact only came to light because of an officer named Frank Serpico In the late 60s, Serpico was working as a plainclothes officer when he came upon evidence of corruption within the force, which was largely ignored by his superiors

That led to consistent hazing and mistreatment by his colleagues, which culminated when he was shot in the face while trying to break up a drug deal and the other cops on the case refused to call it in Along with the reports of wrongdoing, Serpico’s treatment played a major part in the Knapp commission into Police corruption and led to a serious cleanup in police standards The story even made enough of an impact to garner a film adaptation starring Al Pacino 1 Mark Felt Whistleblowers show up a lot nowadays, to the point where there are organisations around the world dedicated to ensuring their safety

But for all of the Snowdens and Wylies and Mannings, the most important whistleblower of all time will likely always be Mark Felt Back in 1972, Felt was the FBI’s second in command when he leaked facts about the Nixon administration to the Washington Post, earning him the famous moniker “Deep Throat” For the year following the Nixon re-election campaign arrests, Felt was a key informant to the now-legendary journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein and fed them insider information about the Watergate scandal By sharing his knowledge with Woodward and Bernstein, Deepthroat set off a series of events that led to the eventual impeachment of Richard Nixon and the downfall of his administration That saga became the high watermark in presidential impropriety and reshaped the landscape of journalism for generations to come

That was 10 Whistleblowers That Changed The World Who else has been brave enough to speak out against injustice? Let us know in the comments and make sure to like and subscribe, and while you’re at it, checkout this great Alltime10s video on screen now

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